What’s in a name?

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Would BackRub have been as successful as Google?

What do Google, 7-Up, Snickers, Yahoo, Blackberry and Taco Bell all have in common? Or, perhaps more accurately, what do BackRub, Lithiated Lemon-Lime Soda, Marathon, Jerry’s Guide to the World Wide Web, Research in Motion and Bell’s Burgers all have in common? That’s right – they’ve all rebranded at some point in their lives.

These brands have proven that a name change can be a game changer. Google’s ability to turn its title into a verb (‘Google it’) has helped the company succeed. ‘Rub it’ doesn’t have quite the same ring to it!

It seems that one Salford resident, Michael Knowles, is a firm believer in the power of a rebrand. He’s leading a campaign to rename Manchester Piccadilly Station as Peterloo Station, to commemorate the Peterloo Massacre of 1819. The massacre took place on the site of the former Manchester Central Station. Interestingly, after it closed down this station building was relaunched as an exhibition centre, called GMex, before being renamed Manchester Central Convention Complex in 2005 – another rebrand!

Knowles wants Manchester to honour the Peterloo Massacre, in which an estimated 15 people lost their lives and 700 were injured during a supposedly peaceful anti-poverty protest. The massacre proved a turning point in this country’s history, prompting the ruling classes to act on reform. In Manchester itself, it led to the creation of the Manchester Guardian – now our beloved Manchester Evening News – by a group of Manchester businessmen headed by John Edward Taylor, who was a witness to the massacre.

If the station were to rebrand, it would be in good company. Some of the world’s most successful brands have undergone a change at some point in their past and, while nothing is ever 100 per cent popular from day one, time has shown that – if done correctly – a rebrand can be a marvellous thing.

Are you in camp Piccadilly or camp Peterloo? Let us know!

Joanna Drake